Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Twice Used Songs: Performance Criticism of the Songs of Ancient Israel"

Diana Massing in the Erie Times assesses Doan and Giles' book to be published by Hendricksen, "Twice Used Songs: Performance Criticism of the Songs of Ancient Israel."

In it, the authors use performance criticism to understand why biblical writers put songs in their stories. The songs that Doan and Giles write about are considered "twice-used" because their first appearance wasn't in the Scriptures known to Christians as the Old Testament.

"They are songs that had circulated in ancient Israel that have become usurped by prose writers," Giles said. "The writer inserts the song into the story in order to advance the purpose of the story."

Performance criticism tries to understand the significance of the history of this material as something that was performed—sung, in a community, with various participants and with responses expected from the audience. The authors explore how the Old Testament writers imbedded these songs in their prose so as to add persuasiveness to the narration.

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